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This Serbian tribe lives in Macedonia to this day: They kept the customs from Nemanjic dynasty, and it is believed that they constructed Hilandar

There is only a few among the Mijaci that declare as Serbs, most of them are Macedonians, while those who say that they are Bulgarians almost no longer exist

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Serbian tribe Mijaci is a Serbian ethnic group in today's north-west Macedonia which resisted the Bulgarisation and communist Macedonianization.

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They are organized according to the system of tribes and fraternities similar to tribes in Herzegovina, Primorje, Stara Montenegro, Brda, Metohija, and Raska. They also have a lot of similarities with the Serbs on the other side of the Sar Mountain in Metohija's Sirinika Zupa around Strpce and Brezovica. The largest settlements are Lazaropolje, Gari, Bituse, Selce, Osoj, and Susica. However, there are only few who declare as Serbs in Mijaci, most of them are Macedonians, while those who say that they are Bulgarians almost no longer exist.

Jovan Cvijic wrote about the Mijaci as a Serbian tribe that survived on the mountains of today's western FYR of Macedonia by doing cattle breeding, carving, frescos, etc. They retained the unique customs and dialect that originated from the Nemanjic period. Cvijic wrote that he had listened to Mijaci about the Kosovo Covenant and their historical memory.

A lively memory still remains on the "Tsar" Lazar, speeches about the "Services" (Patron saints) and the songs are still sung which celebrate this era of Serbian history. Mijaci said that their duke Damjan went to Battle on Kosovo in 1389 from the southern side and behind the Turks and he joined the Serbian army under the command of Knez Lazar.

Manastir Hilandar, Sveta gora, Atos. Na slici je katolikon, glavna manastirska crkva Vavedenja Presvete Bogorodice koju je podigao kralj Milutin. Foto: Wikimedia Commons/Zeljkokiss

Each Mijaci family has a unique Serbian custom for the Patron Saint, so-called "Service" and the center of the spiritual life is the monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski originating from the 11th century. Cvijic wrote that everything that exists in that monastery is related to the Serbian history in a national sense.

Monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski has a very old monument where the history of the monastery itself is written, where only Serbian rulers from the Nemanjic dynasty and Serbian Archbishops are mentioned. The monastery walls are painted on outer walls with Serbian rulers, up to the Kosovo Battle. Those frescos were done by the artist from Lazarpolje.

In addition, the history of the monastery of Sv. Jovan Bigorski, as well as the Mijaci themselves, breaths with eternal struggle for their freedom and independence from Turks and Bulgaria. They had resistance from the starts towards Bulgarian Exarchate and its attempts to impose church life and managed to preserve all the Serbian antiquities that were in their central monastery and their territory.

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(Telegraf.co.uk / Source: History of the Serbs / Nacionalist)

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